Busch gets fifth Nationwide win of 2009
AP Auto Racing Writer
LOUDON, N.H. (AP) – Kyle Busch figured out a way to win again in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series.
After two straight frustrating runner-up finishes in the second tier series, Busch passed Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano near the end of the Camping World 200 on Saturday and held off the precocious 19-year-old to get the victory at New Hampshire International Speedway.
Logano, who started from the pole and led 108 of the 200 laps, beat Busch out of the pits by the length of a hood on the final pit stop by the two leaders. But Busch was able to stay with the leader and eventually drive past him with 36 laps left.
“We just kept adjusting on our car all day,” said Busch, who had led the most laps in the last eight Nationwide races while winning only two of them. “Normally, when we’re out front, we don’t adjust on it. Today we didn’t have the winning car, we made the winning car.
“(Crew chief) Jason (Ratcliff) and myself, we talked this past week about what we need in order to get better, in order to take this team to Victory Lane instead of finishing second week in and week out. This is a good step in the right direction.”
Logano said the handling on his car changed too much during the final run and it slowed him down enough for Busch to move ahead.
“We had a pretty good car today,” the teenager said. “Just not good enough. It’s not like he beat us by a lot. (We were) just too tight at the end. … I guess this is how Kyle felt lately, leading all the laps and finishing second.”
Busch, who led a total of 37 laps Saturday, picked up his fifth Nationwide win of the year and 26th of his career. The 24-year-old, who also is a star in Sprint Cup and the Camping World Truck Series, now has a total of 52 wins in his NASCAR career.
Saturday’s victory was his 10th of the season, including three in Cup heading into Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 on the same track and two in trucks.
Busch’s latest victory also added to the remarkable string of 23 different winners in 23 Nationwide races on the 1.058-mile New Hampshire oval.
Former series champion Carl Edwards challenged Logano in the early going, leading 51 laps. But his crew had problems changing the right front tire on a pit stop just past halfway and he fell out of contention, finishing sixth. That left Edwards 162 points behind Busch in the championship after 16 of 25 races. Logano, in his first full season in Nationwide, is fifth.
Brad Keselowski finished third, followed by Mike Bliss and Kevin Harvick.
As the leaders crossed the finish line, Scott Speed hit Brian Vickers from behind and spun out his Cup teammate while they battled for ninth place. Vickers recovered to finish 12th. The angry Vickers bumped the rear of Speed’s car several times as the two drove slowly along pit road after the race.